You can feel the excitement of the feeding fish in your bones as they swirl and hit the surface snagging drake after drake.
The biggest fish seem to lie in wait and let the drakes come to them. It excites the fly fisher beyond words to see a 5 LB trout breaking the surface time and again. However, you must be able to drop your fly at the right time, about two feet upstream from these monsters and judge the currents just right so your fly drifts within its feeding lane.
Woody material in the river not only stabilizes the banks and collects silt but it also provides a safe haven for fish and they use the trees and branches to define their territory. I've spent many afternoons watching one particular large redband as he consumed nearly 100 flies in two hours, without hardly moving a muscle. He just opens his mouth and gulps as the drakes drift through branches.
But not all fish have such secure fortresses, and if you have a nicely tied fly and a decent cast you can catch a fish or two...
Actually you are more likely to catch 10 to 20 fish per day ranging in size from 12 to 30 inches, although the fellow pictured bottom-right, a former fishing guide, caught more than 40 fish by evening and took time off to run, read and explore many of the wonders at Aspen Ridge.
Fly fishing at Aspen Ridge is catch and release only. Barbless hooks are a must and I ask guest to use a catch and release net and to try and avoid handling the fish whenever possible.
Although it wasn't my intention when I first started rehabilitating the river I am proud of the results and want to keep the fisheries as healthy as possible.
For that reason I'm only open to fishing guests in May and June. A maximum of eight fishers at a time stay at the Ranch and a total of 40 rods per season is the limit I've set.